All Eyes

By Billy Collins

Featured Art: Moonlight on Mount Lafayette, New Hampshire by William Trost Richards

Just because I’m dead now doesn’t mean
I don’t exist any more.
All those eulogies and the obituary
in the corner of the newspaper
made me feel more vibrant than ever.

I’m here in some fashion,
maybe like a gust of wind
that disturbs the upper leaves,
or blows a hat around a corner,
or disperses a little cloud of mayflies over a stream.

What I like best about this
is you realizing you can no longer
get away with the things you used to
when it would be ten o’clock at night
and I wouldn’t know where you were.

I’m all ears, you liked to say
when you couldn’t bother listening.
And now I’m all eyes,
looking in every direction,
with one eye always open just for you.


Billy Collins’s latest collection is Whale Day (Random House, 2020). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Originally appeared in NOR 14.

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